Creative Tips for a Smooth & Fun Bedtime Routine

November 15, 2021

We all know that trying to nudge our kids to “sweet dreams” can quickly turn into a nightmare.

If bedtime is a nightly battle for your family, don’t fret: We’ve got some fun, playful ideas to get little ones to sleep on time, thus ensuring your own sanity and beauty rest too! You might even start looking forward to your new bedtime rituals…


Play spa

Most of us place a lot of emphasis on hygiene before bed, nagging about tooth-brushing and face-washing and feet-scrubbing. But let’s get to the “why” behind it: We want our kids to be clean and comfortable, and to take pride in taking care of themselves. To make this pursuit feel more pleasurable for everyone involved, why not turn your child’s bedroom into a spa?

Ask them how they’d like to be pampered, or take turns having them pamper you, too. Creating an at-home spa helps your kids wind down in a peaceful way and associate self-care with pleasure. So put on some soft, relaxing music, whip out your kids’ robes and then get creative! Here are a few easy ideas:

  • Place lavender washcloths in the fridge and then put them on your child’s forehead
  • Place cucumber slices over their eyes
  • Make DIY foot soaks, face masks, etc.
  • Give each other massages


Put their toys to sleep

Does your child have a favorite stuffed animal or doll? Turn the tables and ask your child how their beloved favorite toy would like to fall asleep. Creating a bedtime routine for their little friend will help them feel ownership over the situation, and start to set the mood for their own slumber.

For instance, perhaps they pick a few books that their “audience” will enjoy, create a sleepy-time playlist for their dolls and rock them to sleep, or put on a performance for their toys.


Create a special bedtime handshake 

Hip-shaking? Check. Finger-snapping and fist-bumping? Double check! Your kids will adore the fun ritual of a bedtime handshake that only the two of you know. As an added bonus, it’s great for their coordination and memory. Create it together and integrate it into your nighttime routine for a little special something that signifies “lights out” time.

For tips on creating the best secret handshake ever, check out this entertaining “how to” from


Play fashion designer

The hidden benefit to playing ‘fashion designer’ with your kids? Your morning will run more smoothly, too! Pretend that your child is a famous fashion designer picking out their next look of the day. You can add fun challenges, such as inviting them to put together themed looks or choose the pajamas you’ll wear that night. They can even create a fancy name for their alter ego!


Let them lead a yoga session

Yoga is an amazing way to help kids and grown-ups alike fall asleep faster and get better rest. To encourage your child’s imagination, show them some fun poses and then invite them to create their own routine. They’ll be super excited if you participate, and it’s a great way to bond together. Or, you can always pull up a YouTube video together.

Again, the more playful it is, the more your kids will buy in. Make it fun: Encourage sound effects (“moo” in cow pose, or “meow” in cat) and for them to create fun, silly postures on their own. Challenge them to let out their longest “OM” to release pent-up energy. You can even have them make up yoga poses for each member of the family!


Play “Rose, Thorn & Bud”

It’s no secret that kids don’t feel inspired by the “How was school?” question, just as “How are you?” can be tough to answer for adults. But when you frame their day in the context of a game, they’re far more likely to open up. “Rose, Thorn & Bud” is a simple game where you share the day’s highlight/success (rose), low point/challenge (thorn) and then something you’re looking forward to (bud). It’s a great way to bond with your kids and check in with how they’re really feeling while sneaking in some last-minute snuggles.

For more family-friendly tips, check out the CA Parents’ Corner blog.


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